Just a few months after antisemitic flyers were distributed in driveways in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, in late April more antisemitic flyers were strewn in the Atlanta neighborhoods of Lake Claire, Candler Park and Kirkwood, near Murray Hill Avenue. This time the flyers were also transphobic.
“These flyers were pushing the narratives that Jews are responsible for turning kids into transgender youth,” Rose Kantorczyk, communications associate for SOJOURN: The Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity, told the AJT.
In a press release citing the Goyim Defense League as responsible for the flyers, Kantorczyk said, “The flyers make the claim that Jews are responsible for the rise in ‘transgenderism’ in the United States and highlight several Jewish leaders of national trans and LGBTQ+ nonprofits.
“The flyers are grounded in two abhorrent ideas: that being transgender is something negative and dangerous that children should be protected from, and that Jews have undue influence in our country’s seats of power. Neither of those theories is true. The flyers highlight members of the Jewish community who work to ensure health, dignity, and equality for all. We believe that Judaism affirms the existence of transgender people, and that a Jewish response to the recent legislative attacks against the trans community is one that affirms trans lives.”
According to Kantorczyk, Georgia State Sen. Elena Parent alerted the community on Twitter, after which 11 Alive News reported on the hateful messages spread in the East Atlanta neighborhoods. Interestingly, it was Georgia House Member Esther Panitch, who first reported, on Twitter, that her husband had found several plastic bags with antisemitic flyers in their Sandy Springs driveway earlier this year.
Parent said she learned about the flyers from a constituent who received a flyer. “We have plenty of LGBTQ members in this neighborhood,” she said. Her district also includes the heavily Jewish area of Toco Hills, although there have been no reports of antisemitic or transphobic flyers in that area. According to Parent, “this is the first time my district has been targeted.”
The constituent who brought the flyers to Parent’s attention is Jeffrey Fisher, an attorney at Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton LLP. Fisher, who is Jewish, told the AJT that early one Sunday morning, he went to have coffee with his family when he saw the flyers “all over. We collected them from our street and threw them away because they are trash. It is really sad, but not a surprise. What they are doing is sad, but legal. They sow hate, but the First Amendment protects them as long as they are not violent.”
He added that he lives in a “wonderful community and is not surprised by the outpouring of support and sympathy” he has received, calling his neighborhood, “liberal.”
After the Sandy Springs incident, Panitch, who is Jewish, posted “Welcome to being a Jew in Georgia – my driveway this morning. @SandySprings_PD came and took for testing. Govern yourselves accordingly, GDL and Anti-Semites who seek to harm/intimidate Jews in Georgia. I’m coming for you with the weight of the State behind me.”
In the last year, similar flyers have been distributed in Cobb, Bartow, Muscogee, and Paulding counties. The Anti-Defamation League describes the Goyim Defense League as “a loose network of individuals connected by their virulent antisemitism.”
The Atlanta Police Department was made aware of the latest flyers and released a statement saying that “our Homeland Security Unit was quickly notified and is investigating. At this time, we are not aware of any criminal acts related to the flyers. However, their distribution has led to a heightened level of awareness throughout our department, and we have increased patrols around where the flyers were found. Anyone who may have observed or received one of these flyers is asked to notify us. You can report it by contacting your local precinct, calling our non-emergency line at 404-658-6666, by calling 922 or by calling Crime Stoppers. Information can be submitted anonymously to the Crime Stoppers Atlanta tip line at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or online at www.StopCrimeAtl.org.
The people pictured and identified in the flyers are national heads of nonprofits “that happen to be Jewish,” said Kantorczyk. The flyers were adorned with Stars of David in the rainbow colors of the LGBTQ+ community.
Kantorczyk contended that “folks who are antisemitic are also transphobic and those who are transphobic are also antisemitic.” The two examples of bigotry are “inextricably linked and all part of Christian nationalists. We want to urge the Jewish community” to stand up for the trans community as there are more attacks around the country and a surge of anti-trans legislation introduced and passed in state legislatures. “When bigoted material is distributed, the group that is targeted” defensively says, but “we’re not doing that,” meaning encouraging transgender people to influence the youth. But Kantorczyk states that the best response to such material is to “continue to stand unwaveringly behind trans.”
Blaming Jews for controversial issues in the U.S. is not new. The trial of the alleged shooter of 11 Jews in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018 – the worst antisemitic attack in U.S. history – just began last month. The alleged shooter reportedly attacked that congregation because it had been involved in helping immigrants come to the country.
Kantorczyk said that the flyers reflect ideas that are based in truth. “Jews are inspired by our values and our teachings and what our religion tells us to do, such as look out for our neighbors and our values.” So yes, the flyers note that the people pictured are leaders in trans nonprofits, but the “ideologues” behind the flyers contend that trans people are dangerous, and that Jews have an undue influence in the country, and “both are untrue.”
- Jan Jaben-Eilon
- antisemitic flyers
- Sandy Springs
- Lake Claire
- Candler Park Kirkwood
- Rose Kantorczyk
- SOJOURN: The Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity
- Goyim Defense League
- Elena Parent
- 1 Alive News
- Esther Panitch
- Jeffrey Fisher
- Townsend & Stockton LLP
- Anti-Defamation League
- Tree of Life Synagogue